Friday, 13 September 2013

Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore...(Part Un)

Hi everyone,

I guess I can only start this post with a massive apology, as I haven't updated this since May! In my defense, my laptop has been on the fritz, so I've been unable to connect my camera for most of the summer... However! I am now 2 weeks in to my study placement in France, and have managed to discover a way in which I can scavenge some photos from my camera's SD card. I can't access my photos from Aus yet, simply because of the sheer volume of them, but rest assured they will be forthcoming (soon, hopefully!). Although I did add this photo from my phone of Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island, just to give you a taster...

So without further adieu, let's get on to what's happening now/in the last 2 weeks in France. As I said in my last video, I'd decided against halls, and wanted to search out my own accommodation, which was fine - until it got to the day before I left, and I still hadn't found anything! Most of the landlords were wary of renting to an international student, or wanted me to see the property before laying down a deposit (not likely when I was in Australia!), so a few days before I left, I booked a hostel for a week, with the thought that I would get something sorted by the end of that first week.

Before I even got to France though, I ran in to disaster. I was booked to leave on a flight to Lyon at 11.35am, but I didn't reach the airport until 11.05am due to an accident on the M25, completely missing my baggage check-in and thus also missing my flight. Standing in the middle of Heathrow on the verge of tears, it kinda felt like the whole world was crashing down, and I almost decided that I definitely didn't want to face this big, scary year abroad when it had already gone horrifically wrong. But, I managed to buy a ticket on the next flight at 4pm, and although it meant waiting in Heathrow for 4 and a half hours, the relief when it was sorted definitely eased the wait a bit!

So I finally got out to France, and then got a shuttle bus from Lyon to Grenoble, then the tram (which runs throughout the city of Grenoble) down the the southern part of Grenoble, Échirolles, where I had a 20 minute walk (40 with 2 suitcases, hand luggage and a handbag) to where the hostel I was staying at was located. So finally, after leaving my house in Kent at just after 8am, at 10.45pm French time I got to my room at the hostel (I've put a few photos below of my room, which I shared with 3 others).

I was sleeping in the top bunk on the right.

Then, I just had to move on the next set of problems, finding somewhere to live when I had no student loan or funding, and dealing with French bureaucracy (I don't think I've ever been somewhere which loves paperwork as much as France...) But after finally getting to Grenoble, I felt kind of invincible so I thought it could be dealt with no problem, but I'll let you know how it went when I update again, with the next bit of  'Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore...'


Friday, 17 May 2013

Now Showing on a screen near you

Hi guys!

As promised, here is my first video for my blog! I hope you guys enjoy it, and let me know if you'd like me to post more in the future. It's just a general update about what's happening, so everyone knows where I'm at, at the moment. So without further adieu...

Let me know what you think!


Thursday, 9 May 2013

Life through rose-tinted lenses...

Hi guys!

So, guess what came early last week? I'll give you a clue...

If you said my camera, you'd be right! Obviously this photo was taken using my webcam, as it's pretty impossible to take photos of a camera using the camera itself. I haven't had much of a chance to go crazy taking pictures yet, although my new profile picture was taken using it!

I've been working almost non-stop at both of my jobs, plus there's been revision happening for my French and Spanish exams in between, so I've had almost no free time recently. It has been breaking my heart a little bit though, because as the weather has been so nice I've wanted nothing more than to go outside with my camera and get a bit snap-happy! Hopefully though, as my main French exam is now out the way, I'll have a spare couple of hours to run around in the sunshine.

(When it comes back, as the weather has now taken a turn for the worst. Typical...)

However, in other exciting news, I've decided that with my new camera I'm going to start a vlog, so expect my first post for that soon! I've already had one attempt, but after failing miserably at that one (both whilst filming and at editing), I figured I'd give it another go before I publish anything to cyberspace. So keep an eye out for Justine in the Wide World, coming to a Youtube channel near you soon...


Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Money. money, money!

Excitement on the Australia front! After receiving my student loan on Monday, I purchased my ticket to go from London Heathrow to Townsville, Australia this summer! Leaving on the 16th of June (the day before my brother's birthday - sorry, Rob!), and returning on the 21st of August, that means 2 months of amazing Australian awesomeness! (Notice the alliteration? (; )

The only thing I'm having trouble wrapping my head round is the time differences... I leave the UK at 9.30pm on Sunday, but land in Oz at 2.15pm on Tuesday, even though the total travel time is only 31.5 hours. For example, when I fly from London to Dubai (the first stop), it's 6 hours on the plane, but I land at 7.20am, 10 hours later. Bizarre.

Also, in other news, my shiny new Panasonic Lumix G3 camera is winging its way towards me as we speak, so expect a post soon expounding on how fantastic it is! It's an early 21st birthday gift from my lovely maternal grandparents, so much love and gratefulness to them for funding my bombardment of pictures that is sure to follow! Plus, on the subject of thanking people, thanks to my amazing aunt and stupendous paternal grandparents for both helping to fund my flight to Oz, it was definitely appreciated! 

(On a side note, I don't think I've ever spent that much money that quickly - £1300 for a flight and a camera in 40 minutes!)

Finally, I've sent of my signed registration form for Grenoble, so I should hear back from them soon and be applying for accommodation pretty sharpish after. :)


p.s Sorry for the overuse of alliteration and adjectives in this one!

Friday, 19 April 2013

So I guess I'm not insane

Another update so soon after the last one! Everything is happening all at once!

I realized the other day, after receiving my confirmation of my place at Grenoble, that I hadn't applied for my visa to travel into Australia. What followed was a massive flurry of panic, when I worried that I wouldn't have enough time to apply and get my visa approved before I would buy my flight tickets! Luckily, when I researched on the Australian visa site, the visa I needed was all done online, and only took between 2 and 10 days to approve. After applying on Wednesday lunchtime, I got my email today stating that I had been approved for my eVisitor visa, so I'm golden to travel to Oz! (They must have decided that I didn't have a dodgy record, and didn't look shifty enough to deny entrance.)